The 2014 Turnbull Stakesfield has been released and a capacity field of 16 runners are set to contest the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
The Turnbull Stakes is run under set weights plus penalties conditions and past winners Green Moon and Happy Trails have both been allocated the top weight of 59 kilograms.
Green Moon (barrier 14) returned to racing with a promising sixth in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), but has not recorded a race win since he took out the 2012 Melbourne Cup, while Happy Trails (barrier one) returned to his best form with a second place finish behind Foreteller in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 20.
Group 1 winners Super Cool and The Offer have both been allocated 57.5 kilograms and are also coming out of the Underwood Stakes.
Super Cool (barrier four) produced an improved performance to run sixth and is on track for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), while Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer (barrier 15)could finish no better than ninth, but trainer Gai Waterhouse was pleased with the effort of the Montjeu gelding.
Talented mare Silent Achiever was beaten as favourite in the Underwood Stakes, but is set to relish the step-up to 2000 metres and a return to the bigger Flemington track.
The Turnbull Stakes is the key 2014 Spring Racing Carnival race for Silent Achiever (barrier 7) as trainer Roger James will decide whether she heads towards the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) or the Cox Plate after he analyses her performance on Saturday.
The Group 1 event will also decide the spring path of Puissance De Lune, who was narrowly denied a maiden win at the highest level of racing by Happy Trails in the Turnbull Stakes last year.
Puissance De Lune finished in the placings in both the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 and the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on September 13 and trainer Darren Weir has kept the Shamardal entire in the entries for all the major races during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Leading Melbourne trainer Peter Moody has never won the Turnbull Stakes, but will have two chances to claim a maiden win in the Group 1 event after including both Lidari and Brambles in the Turnbull Stakes field.
Brambles recorded his first race win for over two years when he scored a narrow win in the Spring Is The Season Handicap (1700m) at Flemington on September 17, while Lidari produced credible performances in both the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes and the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
Robert Hickmott is the only other trainer certain to have two runners in the Turnbull Stakes, with Thought Worthy joining Green Moon in the field, while David Hayes and Tom Dabernig are hoping that first emergency Stipulate can join stablemate Crackerjack King in the race.
Lucia Valentina has been one of the best backed runners in early 2014 Turnbull Stakes betting markets and gets into the race very well with just 53.5 kilograms on her back.
The Savabeel mare returned to racing with an outstanding victory in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 6 and ran some impressive closing sectionals when sixth in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m).
Trainer Kris Lees believes that the Turnbull Stakes is a nice race for Lucia Valentina and he is confident that the four-year-old is on track for the Caulfield Cup.
The 2014 Turnbull Stakes field is rounded out by talented stayer Sertorius (barrier 16), Saab Hasan-trained Shoreham (barrier 12), Group 1 winner Hawkspur, progressive galloper Entirely Platinum (barrier eight), Naturalism Stakes winner Gris Caro (barrier six) and emergencies Let’s Make Adeal (barrier 17) and Sue Jaensch-trained Albonetti (barrier 18).